Here is a checklist of questions to ask when comparing binoculars.
The relative importance of the questions will differ for each
they resolve fine details both at the center and at the
edge of the image?
they display a bright, high-contrast image?
they show colors accurately?
all the air-to-glass surfaces coated, to cut down on internal
they a roof-prism or Porro-prism design?
they're a roof prism design, do they have anti phase-shift
they have a relatively flat field of view? The image shouldn't
seem to curve or bow.
is their field of view? Do they show a big, eye-filling
easy is it to bring the image into precise focus?
close can they focus?
the level of magnification match your ability to hand hold
likely are you to have them with you when you need them?
Do they seem bulky?
you carry them comfortably for hours at a time?
you wear glasses, do they have long enough eye relief so
you can see the whole picture?
it easy to roll down the eyecups?
you plan to use them at twilight or dusk, how large are
the exit pupils?
do they fit your hands?
the surface pleasant to touch and secure to grip?
the focus knob located to suit you? Does it turn smoothly?
Is there a lot of slop?
is the diopter adjustment? Is it likely to get accidentally
bumped off its setting?
rugged is the internal construction? Can they take heavy
they rubber armored?
they actually waterproof, able to survive immersion? Or
just water resistant?
they nitrogen filled so they won't fog up internally?
do they mount on a tripod?
they come with a case?
are the provisions for protecting the lenses when in the
field? Are they practical?
you're ready to purchase, there is one important rule: try
before you buy. The more time you spend handling and looking
through the binoculars before you buy them, the likelier that
you'll make a decision you'll be happy with.
can find a dealer who will let you return or exchange the
binoculars, that's ideal. If a friend or someone in your local
birding organization owns the model you are considering, talk
to that person about the binoculars. He or she might even
offer to let you try them out.
Home FAQ Tips